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Lecture emphasizes advantages of fair trade

first_imgFair trade does not just mean fair wages, John Taylor, a member of Catholic Relief Services (CRS), said Tuesday.The lecture titled “A Piece of Fair Trade” focused on the benefits of fair trade among Central American countries.The talk was held in Carroll Auditorium at Saint Mary’s.  “For each of us who have jobs, or for each of us who are working within a structure … we really care individually about each of these steps,” Taylor said. Taylor, along with fellow CRS member Jessica Howell, said fair trade is beneficial for impoverished nations. “What’s different about the fair trade system is that it’s added value,” Howell said. Taylor said the beans are sent to an exporter, who works to find a place to sell the beans.  Howell encouraged students to get involved in fair trade practices. Other ways students can become involved, Howell said, is to discuss fair trade with families and friends, change the purchasing practices of stores in the area and call on the College to provide fair trade products. “Fair trade is to make sure that these five principals are not shoved aside in order to provide the lowest price for the consumer,” he said. Taylor also said there were five main principals in the fair trade system. Those principals include fair wages, cooperative workplaces, long-term relationships, good working conditions and environmental sustainability.  A broker then works with the exporter to connect with an importer, who brings the coffee beans to the roaster. After the beans are roasted, they are taken to a distributor, who ensures the beans are put in a store to be sold. A retailer then sells the beans to a consumer, and the revenue from the beans is distributed throughout each member of the chain. “It’s pretty powerful to know that when you buy a cup of coffee, or a chocolate bar, or a handcraft that is fair trade certified, you know because there is a fair trade certification system that what you are buying with that money is again not just a living wage for someone, but that there is no exploitative child labor, no harsh environmental conditions,” Howell said.  Taylor said typically, the goal for the consumer for any transaction is to pay as little as possible for the products purchased. However, in a fair trade system, consumers look at the wages that the producer will receive instead of the cost of the product. Howell said fair trade is much more than just creating fair wages for small farmers. Howell said the fair trade system is far less complex and provides more value to the products.center_img Taylor said CRS began to assist refugees coming out of Europe in 1933. Today, CRS focuses on international aid and development.  She also said selling fair trade products and hosting fair trade sales around holidays would be beneficial for fair trade communities. According to Taylor, CRS currently is working in over 100 countries throughout the world to promote fair trade. According to Taylor, free trade is far more complex than fair trade. Taylor explained the process of free, or conventional, trade in relationship to coffee farmers. Coffee farmers begin the process of free trade by producing coffee beans. The beans are then sent to intermediaries, who are responsible for negotiating the price with the farmer. Once the intermediaries agree on a price, the coffee beans are then taken to a processing mill. There, the hull of the bean is removed. “After all, the bottom line is to pay as little as possible, regardless of what the producers or the farmer gets out of it,” Taylor said. According to Howell, there are a variety of ways to encourage fair trade within local communities. Howell said to organize fair trade tastings, film nights or informational events.  Howell encouraged students to purchase fair trade products. Another way to become involved is to learn more about fair trade. “Fair trade ultimately is the realization that there’s a person behind every item that we purchase, and how we choose to buy that item affects that person in a positive or a negative way,” Howell said. Howell added that fair trade worked to strengthen communities by utilizing all of these principals. According to Howell, fair trade also begins with the farmer. After the beans are raised, they are sent to a cooperative, which is a democratically run resource that allows the farmers to receive more money per pound of product. The beans are then taken to a processing mill and then sold to coffee companies. From there, consumers have the capability to purchase the product. Additionally, Howell discussed the ways in which students can participate in the fair trade system.last_img read more

Study finds that minorities work dangerous jobs

first_imgLatino immigrants and African American men have the highest number of people working dangerous jobs, according to a new study conducted by the USC Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics and the Keck School of Medicine of USC.The researchers found that for men between the ages of 18 and 64, Latino immigrants have the highest percentage of workplace injury with around 13.7 per 1,000 workers. They are followed by African American men with 12.1 per 1,000 and U.S.-born Latino men with nearly 12 per 1,000 workers. Asian American men, and white men averaged below 12 per 1,000 people.The elevated workplace risk goes hand-in-hand with higher disability rates as well, especially for older workers aged 50 to 64. Within this age bracket, African Americans have a 4.4 percent rate of work-related disability, followed by Latino immigrants at 4.2 percent.Even accounting for education and demographic characteristics, the difference is due mainly to disparities in economic opportunities for minorities. According to the study, this forces people of color to take more hazardous jobs with a higher risk of disability or injury, according to the study. Some likely factors that may contribute to these disparities include a bias in assigning minority workers the most dangerous tasks or discrimination when it comes to hiring and promotion practices.Historically, minorities have worked under some of the worst conditions, and though the United States has made tremendous progress in improving safety measures and reducing on-the-job injuries, the findings indicate that disparities do still exist.However, the study also reported that investing more in lowering injury is expensive and could potentially lead employers to lower wages or curtail job opportunities. The researchers noted that efforts toward increasing workplace safety should not come at the expense of reduced opportunities for already vulnerable minorities.last_img read more